Ian Houghton interview

British actor talks to Time Out about his first Dubai visit

Interview, Hot seat, Nokia Ovi Slider, The Knowledge

Is this your first visit to Dubai?
I’ve never been to Dubai, I’m very much looking forward to it. My wife is very jealous, because she’s wanted to go for quite some time now and she’s quite annoyed that I’m going to be the one to go.

Have you read the book [Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray, 1992]?
Funnily enough, no, I haven’t. But I must admit it’s been fascinating, because my wife and I have been together for many years, but you find yourself nodding along in agreement with a lot of the things that come out during the production. It’s silly little things that once you hear them, you think, ‘That is so obvious’.

How long has the show been running?
The French show, for over five years now. A French chap by the name of Paul Dewandre read the book and saw the lecture over in the States and got permission to put together a stage show from the author. This will be the first showing of the English version of the successful French show.

How was the self-help book made into something that would entertain?
The show does hit a lovely balance between being informative and giving you a highly entertaining evening. It’s not a lecture, but it’s also not a roaring comedy. It’s designed for couples to get something out of the evening. The other side of it is we want you to have a bit of a laugh as well.

Why did you decide to take on the role?
As soon as I got hold of the script I could really relate to it. From an actor’s point of view, the opportunity to be front and centre of a one-man show is a huge challenge, and I’m never one to back down from one of these. It’s great fun in rehearsals, you’re obviously the centre of attention, and if an actor ever says they don’t have an ego, they’re fibbing.

Have you had to adapt the production for Dubai audiences?
Not particularly, no. It’s not overly graphic, it’s more tongue-in-cheek and issues are dealt with by way of metaphors, so we encourage the audience to be fairly open-minded and take on board what we’re saying. In that way, it should work very well for the sort of audiences we’re hoping to see in Dubai.

What are people most surprised to learn when watching the production?
A lot of the really obvious stuff, to be honest. One of the underlining facts is that men and women alike think that the other sex are going to react in exactly the same way as we do, but there are fundamental differences between the way men think about things and the way women think about things, and it flags those up. Once they’re pointed out to you, it seems incredibly obvious and you wonder why you never thought of them before.
Dhs150-175. 8pm, October 22-24. First Group Theatre, Madinat Jumeirah www.timeouttickets.com

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